Friday, March 14, 2014

New Books To Fall Into
Jón Kalman Stefánsson is the winner of the Icelandic Prize for Literature and has been nominated three times for the Nordic Council Prize for Literature. Heaven and Hell, is a perfectly formed, vivid and timeless story, lyrical in style, and as intense a reading experience as the forces of the Icelandic landscape themselves. Der Spiegel said it was “like an oyster—a glinting treasure in a rough shell.”

In a remote part of Iceland, a boy and his friend Barður join a boat to fish for cod. A winter storm surprises them out at sea and Barður, absorbed in “Paradise Lost”, succumbs to the ferocious cold and dies. Distraught from the murky circumstances of Barður’s death, the boy leaves the village, intending to return the book to its original owner. The extreme hardship and danger of the journey is of little consequence to him—he has already resolved to join his friend in death. But once in the town he immerses himself in the stories and lives of its inhabitants, and decides that he cannot be with his friend just yet.
For fans of Gillian Flynn, Scott Smith, and Daniel Woodrell comes a gripping, suspenseful novel about two mysterious disappearances a generation apart.

The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy’s family has deep roots in the Ozarks, part of a community that is fiercely protective of its own. Yet despite her close ties to the land, and despite her family’s influence, Lucy—darkly beautiful as her mother was—is always thought of by those around her as her mother’s daughter. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls—the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save—and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death.

What Lucy discovers is a secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills, and beyond that horrific revelation is a more personal one concerning what happened to her mother more than a decade earlier.

The Weight of Blood is an urgent look at the dark side of a bucolic landscape beyond the arm of the law, where a person can easily disappear without a trace. Laura McHugh proves herself a masterly storyteller who has created a harsh and tangled terrain as alive and unforgettable as the characters who inhabit it. Her mesmerizing debut is a compelling exploration of the meaning of family: the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths to which we will go to protect the ones we love.

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